Mock Draft VII: Cam Newton Going First Overall to Panthers, Thanks to Da’Quan Bowers’ Knee Problems


Mock Draft VII: Cam Newton Going First Overall to Panthers, Thanks to Da'Quan Bowers' Knee Problems Da'Quan Bowers' run has come to an end after two weeks at the top spot, and there's a new No. 1 pick for the third time in seven weeks. Nick Fairley held down No. 1 for the first four weeks of the mock draft, and his Auburn teammate takes over that position this week.

In the end, Bowers' knee issues are simply too concerning, and reports have indicated Bowers wasn't truthful about his knee at the combine, which gives him two big strikes. Since Fairley is a little small for our liking, and it's hard to believe a team would use the top pick on a cornerback (Patrick Peterson) or outside linebacker (Von Miller), Cam Newton soars up the draft board this week.

Let's open up Mock Draft VII, the seventh edition of 13 mock drafts that will run every Thursday until April 28.

1. Carolina Panthers
2010 Record: 2-14
Needs: Quarterback, defensive tackle, outside linebacker, guard, wide receiver, tight end, defensive end
The Pick: Auburn quarterback Cam Newton
Previous Pick: Auburn defensive tackle Nick Fairley, Clemson defensive end Da'Quan Bowers
Analysis: If the Panthers are going to get risky with the top pick, they might as well go all out with Newton. If I were a general manager, I still maintain I wouldn't take Newton in the top 10, but I at least understand the reasoning. Plus, new Panthers head coach Ron Rivera has been publicly fond of Newton, though I've already expressed why that could be a public-relations stunt.

2. Denver Broncos
2010 Record: 4-12
Needs: Defensive end, cornerback, safety, outside linebacker
The Pick: Alabama defensive lineman Marcell Dareus
Previous Pick: Clemson defensive end Da'Quan Bowers
Analysis: Dareus seems like an obvious choice here because he's such a threat in the 3-4 scheme. Nick Fairley's name has been thrown around, but he's a 3-technique guy in a 4-3 (defensive tackle who lines up between the guard and tackle), not a 5-technique player in the 3-4 (defensive end who lines up over the tackle's outside shoulder).

3. Buffalo Bills
2010 Record: 4-12
Needs: Quarterback, tackle, defensive end, outside linebacker, tight end, cornerback, safety
The Pick: Texas A&M outside linebacker Von Miller
Analysis: It might make sense to look at Da'Quan Bowers here, but I just really like the way Miller could add a new element to Buffalo's defense.

4. Cincinnati Bengals
2010 Record: 4-12
Needs: Defensive end, quarterback, running back, wide receiver, inside linebacker, safety
The Pick: North Carolina defensive end Robert Quinn
Analysis: It's interesting how things work out. Quinn hasn't played football in a year, but right now, he seems like more of a sure thing than Da'Quan Bowers' knee.

5. Arizona Cardinals
2010 Record: 5-11
Needs: Quarterback, left tackle, guard, outside linebacker, cornerback
The Pick: LSU cornerback Patrick Peterson
Analysis: This would be an interesting spot for Da'Quan Bowers, but Peterson fills a more pressing need. Plus, the Cardinals usually seem to like supremely athletic defensive backs.

6. Cleveland Browns
2010 Record: 5-11
Needs: Wide receiver, tackle, guard, defensive end, inside linebacker, outside linebacker, cornerback, safety
The Pick: Georgia wide receiver A.J. Green
Analysis: The Browns need a lot on defense, but new head coach Pat Shurmur has an offensive background and should be willing to jump on Green.

7. San Francisco 49ers
2010 Record: 6-10
Needs: Quarterback, outside linebacker, defensive tackle, defensive end, safety, wide receiver
The Pick: Missouri quarterback Blaine Gabbert
Previous Pick: Nebraska cornerback Prince Amukamara
Analysis: I'm still not ruling out Gabbert as the Panthers' preference at No. 1, but he's going to need to build up his PR campaign. Believe it or not, these things are pretty important at the top of the draft.

8. Tennessee Titans
2010 Record: 6-10
Needs: Quarterback, inside linebacker, defensive end, guard
The Pick: Clemson defensive end Da'Quan Bowers
Previous Picks: Missouri quarterback Blaine Gabbert, Alabama defensive lineman Marcell Dareus, Auburn defensive tackle Nick Fairley
Analysis: Bowers and Robert Quinn are the two best 4-3 defensive ends in the draft class, so the Titans would be happy to land one of them. If Bowers' issues are truly concerning, though, the Titans will look at Aldon Smith.

9. Dallas Cowboys
2010 Record: 6-10
Needs: Tackle, defensive end, guard, safety, cornerback
The Pick: Auburn defensive tackle Nick Fairley
Previous Pick: Alabama defensive lineman Marcell Dareus, Colorado tackle Nate Solder
Analysis: Fairley doesn't fit the Cowboys' scheme, but if there's anyone willing to try using Fairley as a 3-4 defensive end, it's Dallas owner Jerry Jones.

10. Washington Redskins
2010 Record: 6-10
Needs: Quarterback, right tackle, wide receiver, right guard, cornerback, safety, defensive end
The Pick: USC tackle Tyron Smith
Previous Pick: Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallett, Auburn quarterback Cam Newton
Analysis: Newton has been the pick here for several weeks because the belief is that he fits Mike Shanahan's scheme better than the other quarterbacks in the draft. Now, Newton is out of the picture, and Mallett's character concerns have escalated since he was last slotted here at No. 10. With that, the Redskins take the top tackle in the class.

Click here for picks 11-20 | Click here for picks 21-32 

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